How Many Women Have Breast Cancer?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Emmys 2017 (Evening Standard)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Emmys 2017 (Evening Standard)

Earlier this year, “Veep” actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus revealed that she has breast cancer. In an Instagram post announcing her diagnosis, she noted that “1 in 8 women” receive the diagnosis. Is this number accurate?

According to data provided by BreastCancer.org and the American Cancer Society, this ratio is accurate (and the exact one cited by both websites). In 2017 alone, it’s estimated that there will be 252K+ new cases of invasive breast cancer (not counting recording cases). This number of new cases of breast cancer has risen slightly in the past few years: In 2014, 236K+ women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Estimates put deaths from the disease at around 40K+ for 2017. Death rates from the disease have been steadily declining since 1989, and have dropped 39% from 1989 to 2015.

Breast cancer is currently the most common cancer for women, regardless of race or ethnicity. However, that doesn’t mean race doesn’t factor in to surviving the disease:

While breast cancer incidence rates are highest in non-Hispanic white women, breast cancer death rates are highest in African American women.

Louis-Dreyfus has completed her second round of chemotherapy. PSA: get those mammograms!

 

 

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How Many U.S. Adults Have Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) (Mamiverse)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) (Mamiverse)

In answer to the headline, quite a few. In fact, the number might be higher than you think.

The answer: Almost 50% of U.S. adults have human papillomavirus (HPV).

In case you’re blissfully unaware, HPV is “the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).” The virus is most commonly transmitted during vaginal and anal sex. In worst cases, HPV can morph into genital warts and cause cancer.

A report published by the National Center for Health Statistics revealed that 42%+ of U.S. adults ages 18-59 had genital HPV. Certain strains of the virus affected 25%+ of adult men and 20%+ of adult women. These strains caused 31K cases of cancer per year.

The report also found that 7%+ of U.S. adults had oral HPV, and 4% had HPV strains associated with mouth and throat cancers.

Rates of HPV broke down along demographic lines:

The highest rate, 33.7 percent, was found among non-Hispanic blacks; the lowest, 11.9 percent, among Asians. The prevalence of genital HPV infection was 21.6 percent among whites and 21.7 percent among Hispanics.

The study was the first of its kind to examine HPV in adults.

This study really drives home the need for HPV vaccination. Yet despite a push for getting adolescents vaccinated, the HPV vaccination rate remains stubbornly low: “Only 30-40% of teens who should be getting immunized receive the three-dose shot, and only 10% of men do.”

How Many States Cover Transgender Medical Care?

Estradiol estrogen pill (Open Minded Health)

Estradiol estrogen pill (Open Minded Health)

As the transgender community continues to gain visibility in mainstream culture, the issues they face will become more common. Receiving proper medical care is one such issue that will continue to gain prominence.

Last week, Oregon became the latest state to cover transgender care under Medicaid. According to NPR, services include hormone therapy (for example, giving a transwoman estrogen pills), puberty suppression and gender reassignment surgery. Other states with health coverage that cover transgender care include California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York and Vermont. (New York made the decision to cover gender reassignment surgery just last month.)

Only 14% of the United States covers transgender medical care by state. Let’s hope the population’s new visibility helps other states make the right decision to include medical care for transpeople.